Thriving at university: Designing a coaching psychology programme to promote wellbeing and resilience among undergraduate students

Gisele Pereira Dias, Maria-Christina Vourda, Zephyr Percy, Mário Cesar do Nascimento Bevilaqua, Radhika Kandaswamy, Carolina Kralj, Naomi Strauss, Patricia A. Zunszain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wellbeing concerns increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, with university students being a population deserving special attention. Considering this, and the positive impact that coaching psychology can make in promoting wellbeing and resilience, we designed Time to Thrive (version 2022), a coaching psychology programme for undergraduate students based on an integrative model of cognitive-behavioural solution-focused coaching, positive psychology coaching and principles of neuroscience. This paper presents 1) the coaching psychology model used as a framework to structure the content of the programme. The model, called EMERALD, is based on the following domains for wellbeing and resilience: Emotions, Meaning and Engagement, Relationships, Achievements, Living better and Driving change; and 2) the co-creation approach that we used to design the programme and its upcoming evaluation, and a thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with students after a pilot run. Voluntary response sampling was used to recruit first-year undergraduate students across the different faculties of the university. Preliminary results (N=6) indicate that the acceptability of Time to Thrive is high among undergraduate students. Participants commented on perceived outcomes from engaging with the programme, topic content, the virtual learning environment resources and materials, interaction with other students, structure and timeline, and recruitment strategies for increasing the visibility of Time to Thrive and reaching students more broadly. By presenting EMERALD and the initial results of this student-centred project, we hope to contribute to the work of other colleagues aiming to develop similar coaching psychology strategies to promote student wellbeing and resilience at universities and other educational settings.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Coaching Psychology Review
Issue number2
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023

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